Obituary: Mike Pratt Eng Tech MICIPHE RP

Mike Pratt

In Obituary

Mike was born in April 1940. He lived for most of his early life in Hendon and went to the Algernon Road Infant and Junior schools, before going to the Brent Secondary Modern. From there he was awarded a scholarship to the Sir Philip Magnus Technical Collaged in Kings Cross. Although he initially studied carpentry, in the second year he switched to plumbing. His parents ran a tobacconist shop in Harrow, and when they retired Mike and his parents bought the house in Watford where Mike lived for the rest of his life.

He greatly enjoyed all forms of engineering and was a member of various car and train clubs in the UK. Often traveling abroad to see specific locomotives, motoring events and listen to jazz music. Hence, he developed friendships with people in Sweden, Holland, Norway and other countries.

He trained as a plumber under George Nash; after whom the CIPHE Branch award trophy was named. The Hertfordshire Branch won the award in 2017 and the previous Jimmy Haig Memorial Award in 1966.

Mike worked for Wilsons for many years, installing and maintaining complex installations in convents, large houses and all sorts of sites.

He loved plumbing and was keen to demonstrate traditional skills to the public at the Open Air Museum. He attended most of the IoP and CIPHE conferences, representing the Hertfordshire Branch. He was a stalwart of the Branch and served for many years as the Secretary, Treasurer, and sometimes Chairman. He was Branch Secretary from March 1998 to March 2015, taking over from Ralph Hill 1986-1998, and the original secretary Jeff Prettyman 1973-1985. Between 1986-1989 and from 2015, until his death, he served as Branch Chairman.

He had enjoyed being an apprentice and subsequently mentoring many other plumbers as his apprentices. Hence, he was keen to encourage plumbing students and instigated the Brian Saunders Award for the ‘most outstanding plumbing apprentice’ and the Ralph Hill Award for the ‘Top practical Assessment Task’, both of which were awarded to students in local colleges. Indeed, the Herts Branch was originated by lecturers from Oaklands College in St Albans and grown out of the Luton Branch of the IoP.

He was always keen to learn more and looked forward to the monthly arrival of the Institute’s journal. He participated in the South East Area meetings and was gratified to receive the Silver Award from the CIPHE in 2008, for his long service to the Branch.

He was a keen motorist and was an active member of the Vintage Car Club and owned an Alvis, and Rover in addition to his everyday Mondeo. However, whatever circle he moved in he was famous for making marmalade. He was often creating new recipes of marmalade and had great pleasure in giving jars to everyone.

Although Mike loved plumbing, he was not a fan of new technology. He liked writing letters, but would not get a computer; so could not be contacted by email. He had a landline phone, but no answerphone; so he could only be contacted when he was in. He did have a number of mobile phones, but did not like to use them. He said that he ‘was a dinosaur and happy to be one’. He enjoyed face to face meetings and did not like the trend towards websites and on-line training.

In recent years he had undergone heart surgery, but had recovered well and at 82 he was active in carrying out plumbing supervision for a small number of valued clients and attending various car club events. He will be greatly missed by his friends and relations.